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Ark of Truth

What makes a good quest for you?

  

111 members have voted

  1. 1. What makes a good quest for you? (You can choose more then one answer)

    • The Length of the Mission
      17
    • Mission Reward
      9
    • Depth of the Mission (Does it make you want to finish it)
      97
    • Other, please specify
      18


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Emotional attachment. And drama, baby. Make me give a shit. Create interesting NPCs that don't have mouth diarrhea but become interesting through a few key remarks they make, their quirks, the way they act in the story, the traces they leave in the gameworld they are supposed to live in (nearly all games forget that) and so on. Show and don't fucking tell.

And if you rely on telling then better be an exceptional writer or else I don't want to read your shitty endless monologues and conversations.

And then get the ball rolling, let player favorites die or let the player choose whom to save, reveal new aspects of seemingly one-note characters, let characters grow or get changed by whatever emotional rollercoaster you put them and the player through.

And never add filler quests like collecting some furs or cleaning out a cellar because this is what games always did. Better just spread a few bread crumbs of lore and little story bits so the player can play detective or archeologist and don't fill the area with quests at all. And just do good level design instead.

 

Not sure good quests really fit the TES formula though. NPCs and the stories you experience with them tend to be rather forgettable in these games.

The thing I like about Skyrim in particular are the little touches, the environmental storytelling, the NPC-NPC banter, the letters and other pieces of lore you can find and so on. That part is much improved compared to Oblivion and better than for instance in Witcher 3.

... Which had lightyears better NPCs and stories to actually play through yourself though but the gameworld was pretty forgettable and you always found the same shitty notes about poor souls that tragically died because war is cruel or some monster got them. Got old very fast.

Gimme Witcher 3's story and NPCs but with environmental storytelling at least on Skyrim level and less linear dungeons and I'm happy.

No wait, give me good gameplay on top of all that because none of this shit has anything to do with the question if it will keep me interested enough for long enough to actually see the ending credits. We're talking about games and not novels afterall.

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The mechanics of how enemies react to player depending on approach and weapon choices in FPS is not much different than having NPC converse differently with you whether you are good or evil in RPG.  It's just a branch of computer codes.  RPG tell different stories from prerecorded dialogue trees and FPS offer different run through using different AI packages.  (Of course if your idea of RPG is MMO style with stats and loot then choices don't really matter). 

 

The reason FPS has gained popularity not because players are getting stupider but rather it is easier to offer "choices" in FPS than RPG.  You can mix and match weapon/AI packages to offer unique varied action based role playing experience so a lot of the codes and assets that cost money to build can be reused.  Storytelling on the other hand needs to be coherent so offering "choices" will result in many of the stuff that cost money to build likely to be played just once.  In the old days where storytelling is text based this is not a big deal but it is very different today.  Voice acting and animations ain't cheap. 

 

Can developers offer many deep, complex interweaving RPG "choices"?  Of course they "can" in a technical sense but not from a commercial sense, and probably not even creatively.  So what afa is saying is that given the reality, do we want developers to spend money on more choices or more/better distinct stories?  Afa also talked about the "illusion" of choices, which are slight detours of the same main path that offers different ambiances.  The experience is different but it's the same road.  He didn't say it was good or bad, he just said those are not "true choices" from the perspective of game designer/director.  

 

Most of the debate between you two are really just different ways of using the word "choice".  So a computer scientist, a psychologist and a theologian walk into a bar and debate the word "choice"....

 

 

So the choices in RPG are not real choices, they are just branches in the code. Brilliant. Thank you for enlightening me. I would never know otherwise. I though it was voodoo magic!

 

In the old days where storytelling is text based this is not a big deal but it is very different today.  Voice acting and animations ain't cheap - Why do you need voice acting with lipsync, and cut scenes? Do they add anything to the story, or RP? Quite the contrary - this being added to the game at the expense of the RP element. In FO4 you don't even read dialogues any more - even your own lines. You just "choose" between 3 grades of Yes in the "dialogue wheel". Even that simplified, castrated RP element that still existed in Skyrim, is not in Fallout 4 any more. It's simply a shooter with some (again simplified) stats. No wonder you have an impression that this is the only way and form, and some consider it's better to simply give player "more content" - the one he or she could passively watch and take a couple of shots.

 

No, players didn't get stupider (I hope), they just can't read anything longer than a tweet. Or don't want to, at least, and get quickly tired when they have to. The same reason why these days most people make "YouTube tutorials" even when a text page or PDF could really do a better job.

 

So if I'd be asked a question - would I prefer multiple stats/skills/alignment based paths in a quest to a fully voiced acting and animated cutscenes - fuck yeah! Any day, baby. Why? Because I could play it over and over, several times with different characters. One is a rogue, another is a warrior. One is charismatic and smart, another is dumb as brick. And I would really notice the difference in how people react to my character - by refusing to talk, attacking on sight, being afraid, being helpful, giving gifts, offering jobs. Some refuse to cooperate or even talk if you ever committed a crime, others won't contact you unless you have a couple of murders behind your belt - so the consequences of your choices aren't just changed dialogue lines. Different ways of solving the same problems for different classes/builds - and I don't mean just choosing a way to kill stuff: where a warrior charges in killing everyone right and left, a rogue convinces a guard to let him in through the back door, sneaks in, picks locks and puts the whole place on fire with all inhabitants, getting some nice loot from a hidden treasury in the process. That would create replayability.

 

The only reason why Skyrim is being played over and over again is mods - so people try new mods. Other than that - it's really terrible at this. You could just join every guild in one play-through and become a sneaky assassin heavy armoured pickpocketing werewolf battlemage, thane of everything and your mom, Arch Mage of Dark Brotherhood. What would be the point of playing it again? In fact I've played Skyrim the only time when it got released, then forgot about it for 3 years, and returned to the game when modding scene became what it is now.

 

Speaking of the practical part of this: what's easier - releasing 1 mod that gets played several times due to multiple choices, or releasing 3 linear ones? Considering that people on average will spend about the same total time playing your mod(s) and will get at least equal amount of fun? I can understand why this tendency to release linear games prevails in commercial development (you can't charge people 3 times for a single "DLC"), but if you don't charge money for your work - what's the point?

 

The reason FPS has gained popularity... Kid. They have always been popular. And they predate RPGs. The problem is not that "FPS are popular". The problem is that RPGs are becoming FPS with stats. The problem with that? You can't create a living character any more. One with a distinct personality, making his/her own unique choices. One that you will like and remember and share his/her emotions. That's the whole idea.

 

The experience is different but it's the same road - yes, you could say the same about life. The real one. The path from being born to being dead. Just with a different experience for everyone. What constitutes a real choice then?

 

So a computer scientist, a psychologist and a theologian walk into a bar and debate the word "choice".... - I write code for 30 years, so I guess this kinda makes me a "computer scientist" (I hate this stupid term though). Which one are you then, and who is afa?

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The mechanics of how enemies react to player depending on approach and weapon choices in FPS is not much different than having NPC converse differently with you whether you are good or evil in RPG.  It's just a branch of computer codes.  RPG tell different stories from prerecorded dialogue trees and FPS offer different run through using different AI packages.  (Of course if your idea of RPG is MMO style with stats and loot then choices don't really matter). 

 

The reason FPS has gained popularity not because players are getting stupider but rather it is easier to offer "choices" in FPS than RPG.  You can mix and match weapon/AI packages to offer unique varied action based role playing experience so a lot of the codes and assets that cost money to build can be reused.  Storytelling on the other hand needs to be coherent so offering "choices" will result in many of the stuff that cost money to build likely to be played just once.  In the old days where storytelling is text based this is not a big deal but it is very different today.  Voice acting and animations ain't cheap. 

 

Can developers offer many deep, complex interweaving RPG "choices"?  Of course they "can" in a technical sense but not from a commercial sense, and probably not even creatively.  So what afa is saying is that given the reality, do we want developers to spend money on more choices or more/better distinct stories?  Afa also talked about the "illusion" of choices, which are slight detours of the same main path that offers different ambiances.  The experience is different but it's the same road.  He didn't say it was good or bad, he just said those are not "true choices" from the perspective of game designer/director.  

 

Most of the debate between you two are really just different ways of using the word "choice".  So a computer scientist, a psychologist and a theologian walk into a bar and debate the word "choice"....

 

 

So the choices in RPG are not real choices, they are just branches in the code. Brilliant. Thank you for enlightening me. I would never know otherwise. I though it was voodoo magic!

 

In the old days where storytelling is text based this is not a big deal but it is very different today.  Voice acting and animations ain't cheap - Why do you need voice acting with lipsync, and cut scenes? Do they add anything to the story, or RP? Quite the contrary - this being added to the game at the expense of the RP element. In FO4 you don't even read dialogues any more - even your own lines. You just "choose" between 3 grades of Yes in the "dialogue wheel". Even that simplified, castrated RP element that still existed in Skyrim, is not in Fallout 4 any more. It's simply a shooter with some (again simplified) stats. No wonder you have an impression that this is the only way and form, and some consider it's better to simply give player "more content" - the one he or she could passively watch and take a couple of shots.

 

No, players didn't get stupider (I hope), they just can't read anything longer than a tweet. Or don't want to, at least, and get quickly tired when they have to. The same reason why these days most people make "YouTube tutorials" even when a text page or PDF could really do a better job.

 

So if I'd be asked a question - would I prefer multiple stats/skills/alignment based paths in a quest to a fully voiced acting and animated cutscenes - fuck yeah! Any day, baby. Why? Because I could play it over and over, several times with different characters. One is a rogue, another is a warrior. One is charismatic and smart, another is dumb as brick. And I would really notice the difference in how people react to my character - by refusing to talk, attacking on sight, being afraid, being helpful, giving gifts, offering jobs. Some refuse to cooperate or even talk if you ever committed a crime, others won't contact you unless you have a couple of murders behind your belt - so the consequences of your choices aren't just changed dialogue lines. Different ways of solving the same problems for different classes/builds - and I don't mean just choosing a way to kill stuff: where a warrior charges in killing everyone right and left, a rogue convinces a guard to let him in through the back door, sneaks in, picks locks and puts the whole place on fire with all inhabitants, getting some nice loot from a hidden treasury in the process. That would create replayability.

 

The only reason why Skyrim is being played over and over again is mods - so people try new mods. Other than that - it's really terrible at this. You could just join every guild in one play-through and become a sneaky assassin heavy armoured pickpocketing werewolf battlemage, thane of everything and your mom, Arch Mage of Dark Brotherhood. What would be the point of playing it again? In fact I've played Skyrim the only time when it got released, then forgot about it for 3 years, and returned to the game when modding scene became what it is now.

 

Speaking of the practical part of this: what's easier - releasing 1 mod that gets played several times due to multiple choices, or releasing 3 linear ones? Considering that people on average will spend about the same total time playing your mod(s) and will get at least equal amount of fun? I can understand why this tendency to release linear games prevails in commercial development (you can't charge people 3 times for a single "DLC"), but if you don't charge money for your work - what's the point?

 

The reason FPS has gained popularity... Kid. They have always been popular. And they predate RPGs. The problem is not that "FPS are popular". The problem is that RPGs are becoming FPS with stats. The problem with that? You can't create a living character any more. One with a distinct personality, making his/her own unique choices. One that you will like and remember and share his/her emotions. That's the whole idea.

 

The experience is different but it's the same road - yes, you could say the same about life. The real one. The path from being born to being dead. Just with a different experience for everyone. What constitutes a real choice then?

 

So a computer scientist, a psychologist and a theologian walk into a bar and debate the word "choice".... - I write code for 30 years, so I guess this kinda makes me a "computer scientist" (I hate this stupid term though). Which one are you then, and who is afa?

 

 

You have a very firm idea of what you like and what you considered as good which is perfectly fine but that does not necessarily make them objective.  I don't like FPS either but I want to understand their success.  I try not to give myself intellectual hand job by reasoning something popular I don't like as other people's failings :D 

 

Mods are free but mod creators' time are not.  Which is more preferable: good linear playable quests or ambitious multi-choice mods that may never get finished?  Or have mod creators burn out from adding choices they never intended because users want them?

 

I am pretty sure you know the difference between a computer scientist and someone who just know how to write codes. 

 

This discussion is now derailing what OP wanted so I am ending my participation :angel:

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You have a very firm idea of what you like and what you considered as good which is perfectly fine but that does not necessarily make them objective.  I don't like FPS either but I want to understand their success.  I try not to give myself intellectual hand job by reasoning something popular I don't like as other people's failings :D

 

Mods are free but mod creators' time are not.  Which is more preferable: good linear playable quests or ambitious multi-choice mods that may never get finished?  Or have mod creators burn out from adding choices they never intended because users want them?

 

I am pretty sure you know the difference between a computer scientist and someone who just know how to write codes. 

 

This discussion is now derailing what OP wanted so I am ending my participation :angel:

 

 

I never said I don't like FPS. I don't like the idea of RPG becoming FPS - because it leads to the extinction of the former. There was RPG Fallout, which is now FPS Fallout with an imitation of dialogues. Truth is  - Fallout 4 is pretty mediocre as a FPS too. The recent incarnation of DOOM absolutely beats it in this department. There were far better FPS games with a story and dialogues (that don't change anything) in the past, like Half Life 2.

 

If TES6 follows the same trend, it's lost as an RPG, and the whole RPG genre becomes a small niche, represented by games like "Pillars of Eternity" by Obsidian and several others from developers like inXile. It's nice to have them, but having Fallout and TES go is still kinda sad.

 

Speaking of "wasted efforts" again - take a look at Enderal. How much time was wasted on creating endless cutscenes that will become a mere annoyance on a second play-through? (if there will be one) Why devs bothered working on all those skill trees when they don't have any impact on the linear (as rails) story whatsoever?

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Not to pick sides as I am not a native English speaker either, although by my age and education I really should be better than native speakers...

 

I do have a background in stochastic programing and afa's prose style, so to speak, is very familiar to me or those with backgrounds in AI. 

 

Choices in games are all fixed paths (*under current technology).  The player is just a rat in a maze and the "choices" are basically our ways of mapping the maze.  Is mapping a maze more fun than traveling down a brand new road?  Would you rather retrace your paths to experience different dead ends or would you rather have something totally different from beginning to end?  Well, that depends on the dead ends and the new path, isn't it?  Also, keep in mind that developers work under a budget so choices for choices sake do not necessarily a better game make.  Every dead end in a maze that players don't experience is wasted resource that can be used to improve the game.

 

*Procedure generated worlds and NPCs will be the game changer but we are probably far from the tech to be good enough.

To me that doesn't sound like background in AI but stupid marketing. A dead end nobody ever plays is wasted, yes. But as long as it's possible to experience it, somebody will. Probably many. A different (not necessarily dead, though) end is what makes me to replay the whole game. At least it's one reason to that. And a game i don't want to play a second time is hardly a good one. I play RPGs (and even some FPS and other games) for the story, not for "amazing" fighting systems, animations, graphics or whatever. Those are nice to have, but a good story (not only the questline, that imho includes characters and atmosphere) is mandatory for RPGs. And if i can have a second, third,... path, i get a second story in one game.

 

I recently played Archimedean Dynasty, a submarine simulation from 1996 that still had a better story than FO4. The only real choices were to miss sidequests if you didn't talk to the questgivers in time, but the atmosphere and dialogues were great. I really don't know how much a good storywriter earns, but why is it so fucking hard to hire one?

 

*edit: I totally agree with philout. When you make a lot of cutscenes, make sure that there are different ones for different paths, not necesarily more, though. That way you'll increase the fun to play it again instead of reducing it.

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Speaking of cutscenes - I remember the times when scrolling text was good enough as a way to tell a story, preceding the current events, even in a movie.

 

Not only those on a tight budget, but even some well-known AAA titles. Hums X-Wing theme....

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Yeah, but you need somewhat decent writers for that. Bethesda do not really have any.

 

I blame Michael Bay and his explosions.

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 - Molag Bal's quest - actually... pretty terrible. A vigilant asks you to join him in checking out the house, and then you have no choice but to kill him and submit to Molag Bal. I had to use some "I have a terrible premonition" excuse for my vigilant character to refuse helping him. And why would a vampire want to join a vigilant (those who usually attack him on sight) in checking the house?

 

There isn't really a reason for that vigilant to be alive when the quest begins. It is enough if someone mention that he went in there together with his aide (Vigilants tend to travel in pairs)and disappeared. Then you enter to investigate and find them dead on the floor and they have apparently killed each other. A vampire should be able to work with that.

 

 

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I consider Depth of Quest to encompass story line. A good quest to me is like a good book, it makes want to read to the end. Story is important.

For me the other important part of a good quest is choice and consequence. Especially if the consequences follow you throughout the game and not just the quest. As players we make those type of choices when we install certain mods. An example might be Skyrim Unbound with dragon souls set to random. The player has no idea if their PC is going to be Dragonborn or not, and that choice affects the entire play-through.

I like quests that do the same sort of thing. Especially so if there are multiple outcomes to make it re-playable.

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Live?

I am thinking of Skyrim.

 

There is such a big world (realtively) and so many possibilities - but it is totally dead and boring.

 

Who is the main player - of course the PC.

But - he has no voice, no emotions, no feeling, no relationship to anything - it is in a complex dead world.

 

The PC makes its quests - and even during the quest - it has no voice, no emotions, nothing.

 

What a lucky thing this year will still be Gothic 1.  :lol:

 

So a good quest is: filled with life, with destiny and decisions, and of course, many unexpected consequences.

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In Skyrim: Honestly? I'd have to say either the replayability or the fondness of the memories after the fact.

Why or why not the content was memorable or unique. Was it really short and sweet? Was it long and padded out? How did I feel during and after the fact?

I'm describing quests more as 'experiences' here, because that's what I think they ideally should be, a really good experience.

My personal preferences would be nonlinear questing, but even if it's more objective, it can still be a quality experience, it's been done before.

I think that when my choices and actions as a person controlling a character are recognized and acknowledged, it is the best... not braindead draugr puzzle sequences that almost insult my intelligence.

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if the quest is "Uhmmersive as fuck"™-MXR (it's like Immersive but higher)

 

even in adult quest mods I search for something that will really get you into the game and really want to finish it and immerse in it...if a mod has successfully pulled you into their own world while alienating you from the base game than IMO is a good quest...

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Remember the murder house party quest you had to do for the Dark brotherhood in Oblivion? EVERYTHING about that quest is what I look forward to when questing. I wish someone would mod a quest just like that for the Skyrim or Fallout 4 community. If there already is, pls let me know lol.

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